DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband wears dentures, upper and lower. When he drinks too much, he sometimes spits out his dentures, and we are all left scrambling around the house trying to find them. On a couple of occasions, he didn't find them before Monday, and he had to go to work toothless. He works in an industry that reveres youth. Having no teeth is about as bad an image as he could project when trying to ensure that his job is safe.
What can I say to him to get him to take better care of his teeth, like putting them in their container before bed and not drinking so much that he can't remember in the first place? I'm worried about him during a time when young people are ruling his industry. He is not young. -- Lost Teeth, Baltimore
DEAR LOST TEETH: The misplaced dentures may be indicative of a bigger issue. Your husband seems to lack faith in himself. It can't hurt for him to believe that you have faith in him, too. The humiliation of exposed tooth loss is huge. That your husband would have lost his awareness of time and place -- and teeth! -- suggests that he is in an emotionally fragile position. He may also have an alcohol problem. Do your best to support him. If you can get him to listen, gently tell him that when he gets drunk, the teeth go flying. Suggest, at minimum, that he put the teeth away before taking too many drinks. You may be able to get him to choose to be more alert to what's happening before him in real time, including slowing down on the alcohol.